The endless debate between principle and love has been taken up yet again by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), one of only 11 members of congress to oppose the bill to give $51.8 billion to help Hurricane Katrina victims. Holding a similar stance, he said Tuesday that he thinks Hurricane Sandy victims should be given only necessary funds, not to be used, as funds had been for Hurricane Katrina, on “Gucci bags and massage parlors.”
“I want to get them the resources that are necessary to lift them out of this water and the sand and the ashes and the death that’s over there in the East Coast and especially in the Northeast,” he said in a debate Tuesday, “But not one big shot to just open up the checkbook, because they spent it on Gucci bags and massage parlors and everything you can think of in addition to what was necessary [after hurricane Katrina].”
So that’s his principle, and he defends his vote against Hurricane Katrina aid as “a good vote,” “a principled vote.” Debating against challenger Christie Vilsack, he said “I said that there will be all kinds of wasted funds. There’s no plan to spend it. I got beaten up on by many of the newspapers around, but I stood on that and I said it’s a principle vote and it will be easier to defend every day.”
Vilsack has called such an attitude “heartless” and “extreme,” and sums up her stance by saying, “In Iowa, we take care of people. That’s all I think I need to say.”
But more does need to be said so that emergency ethics don’t ruin the country in the name of “caring” and “love.” Whether King’s extremism is the answer, however, is another matter.
When the candidates were asked if they would pledge the remaining of their campaign advertising funds to storm victims, Vilsack said her money was already all spent, whereas King said it it was a worthy consideration.
“The first thing I thought was yes and the second thing was, I should ask my donors, because they’re really the people who have contributed that money. So I don’t think I can answer that unless I do. My instinct would be, why not pull the plug on it right now? But I don’t think that’s going to happen and I would have to go to my donors before I could simply say yes.”